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U.s. 48, Afghanistan 14, Pentagon 8, Us 8, Zikria Kandahari 7, Cia 6, John Kerry 5, Scheindlin 4, Leonard Rubenstein 4, Dr. Stephen Xenakis 4, Israel 4, Matthieu Akins 4, Kabul 4, Iran 3, U.n. 3, Juan Gonzalez 3, Amy Goodman 3, New York 3, Dennis Haysbert 3, Bragg 3,
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  WHUT    Democracy Now    Series/Special. Current  
   Events & News in the World.  

    November 7, 2013
    6:00 - 7:00pm EST  

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talks that resumed in geneva today between iran and six world powers, including the u.s. is the second round of negotiations on iran's nuclear program since president hassan rouhani took office in august. the proposal would partially with u.s.-led sanctions for six months in return for iran's suspension of nuclear activity. john kerry continues a visit to israel and the occupied west bank in a bid to encourage u.s.- brokered peace talks. he faced palestinian complaints in ramallah on tuesday over israel's continued expansion of west bank settlements. in a rare move, john kerry said the u.s. views israel settlements as illegitimate, going beyond the normal white house language of not helpful. but john kerry stopped short of calling the settlements illegal. >> let me emphasize at this point the position of the united states of america on the considerts is that we
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now, and have always considered, the settlements to be illegitimate. i want to make it extremely clear that at no time did the agree asans in any way a matter of going back to the talks that they someh condone or accept the settlements. the palestinians believed the settlements are illegal. the united states has said they believe the settlements are not helpful and are illegitimate. >> despite calling the settlements illegitimate, john kerry refused to demand an end to the construction, saying israeli expansion "would be off limited as much as possible." concluded study has former palestinian president yasser arafat may have been poisoned to death. the team of swiss scientists who
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examined his remains say their findings moderately support poisoning as the cause of death. on tuesday, arafat's widow called for an investigation where he fell ill one month before dying in 2004. speaking to al jazeera, forensic scientist david barkley says he believes arafat was poisoned. >> if i was a judge and jury, this is absolutely stone cold certain, this is beyond any doubt in my opinion that it was polonium that cause the death of yasser arafat. >> the polonium found in arafat's body must've come from a nuclear reactor according to berkeley. israel has denied responsibility for the debt. other experts have questioned the poisoning theory, saying arafat show symptoms inconsistent with radioactive exposure. the pakistani government has reportedly acknowledged errors in his recent downgrading of civilian casualties from u.s. drones. shortly after prime minister nawaz sharif returned from a u.s. visit last month, the
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pakistani government reported account of 67 deaths since 2004. just months earlier, pakistan had estimated the toll at around 600. but a pakistani defense official has omitted the lower figure was "wrong and fabricated," according to "news of pakistan." a shift was announced earlier this year amidst questions over the drone program secrecy and accountability. officials now say it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. has asked ands international tribunal to order russia to release the 30 people detained in a greenpeace protest against arctic drilling. the 28 environmentalists and two journalists have been jailed in russia on charges of hooliganism, facing up to seven years behind bars. on wednesday, a dutch government legal advisor made an appeal to the international tribunal for the law of the sea. >> we have given our view on the
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case. it is now for the judges to decide. we have full confidence in the judges. we trust they will give us a well considered, well-reasoned decision in this case, which has a great amount of urgency, so that is what we are looking forward to. >> a multiple shooting a detroit has up to people dead and eight others wounded. one of the injured victims is in critical condition. , meanwhile,troit are investigating the shooting death of an african-american woman killed while seeking help for late-night car crash. 19-year-old renisha mcbride knocked on the door of a home in a predominantly white neighborhood ask for help. the homeowner are currently thought she was an intruder and shot heard dead. family members say they believe mcbride was racially profiled. the u.s. border patrol has rejected calls to stop the use of deadly force against people throwing rocks. a government-backed task force recently urged the u.s. customs
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and border protection agency to ban agents from shooting at rock throwers and assailants in vehicles. the recommendation came as part of her review sparked by the deadly shootings of 19 people by border agents since 2010. but speaking to the associated press, border patrol chief mike fisher said the proposed changes would put agents in danger. the military judge presiding over the tribunal of five 9/11 suspects has ordered the obama administration to hand over a trove of documents on prison conditions act guantanamo bay. judge will review correspondence between the u.s. government and the red cross, which has inspected the prison. he will then decide whether to turn it over to the defense. it's unclear material will become public. both the pentagon and the red cross had argued against the disclosure, which was sought by prisoners attorneys. in a separate decision, the judge also eased restrictions on mail communication between the prisoners and their lawyers. "los angelese
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times," reports the obama administration is holding talks with yemeni officials on establishing a facility outside sanaa to hold prisoners from guantánamo and afghanistan. the talks could be one step toward closing guantanamo, which president obama has repeatedly vowed to do. more than half of prisoners currently at guantánamo are from yemen. many have been held for over a decade without charge or trial. yemeni officials have reportedly drafted tentative lands for the facility, but a final deal could take months. former guantánamo bay prisoner david hicks has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn his you thousand seven conviction. captured in afghanistan, he was held at guantanamo for five years before reaching a plea deal to return to his native australia. he admitted to material support for terrorism and agreed to renounce his claim of suffering abuse in u.s. custody. he was the first guantánamo prisoner convicted under the military commissions act. this week, hicks filed an appeal
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saying he pled guilty under duress. --a statement, hicks said againstl judge ruled the new york city police department's controversial stop and frisk program is seeking reinstatement after being removed from the case. in august, u.s. district judge scheindlin found stop and frisk unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a policy of indirect racial profiling that lead to officers routinely stopping blacks and latinos. scheindlin appointed a federal court monitor oversee a series of reforms. but a three-judge panel froze the reforms and removed scheindlin last week, saying she had violated judicial standards by speaking to the media. on wednesday, judge scheindlin filed an appeal, arguing the court never gave her a chance to respond before taking action against her. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the
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country and around the world. a year ago yesterday, on november 6, 2012, tens of millions of americans went to the polls to reelect president obama. on that same day -- thousands of miles away -- a 39-year-old afghan farmer named mohammed qasim disappeared after being arrested by u.s. special forces. he was never heard from again. months later and afghan shepherd saw feral dog digging a human remains now believed to be the farmer's. his decaying body was found just outside a base used by a team of u.s. special forces known as the a-team. the body was found just weeks after u.s. special forces were compelled by the afghan government to leave the base and it will occasions of torture and murder. more and more bodies were soon found just outside the base located in wardak province. in total, afghan officials say they have uncovered the bodies
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of 10 afghan man, all of whom disappeared after being arrested by u.s. special forces. eight other afghans were killed by the special forces during operations. >> the mr. behind the killings as the center of a shocking article published by "rolling stone" magazine which reports the disappearances and killings could amount to some of the gravest war crimes perpetrated by u.s. forces since the u.s.- led invasion in 2001. on wednesday, human rights watch said any u.s. personnel who participated in or were otherwise responsible for the abuses should be criminally prosecuted. so far only one person has been arrested -- an afghan translator who went by the name zikria kandahari. zikria kandahari have been working for the american team. he was arrested in july by the afghan government. "rolling stone" reports the u.s. military opened a criminal investigation into the killings in july. however, none of the witnesses and family members who were interviewed by "rolling stone" in afghanistan during five months reporting say they have
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ever been contacted by u.s. military investigators. to talk more about the story, we're joined by an and award- winning investigative journalist matthieu akins. his article is titled "the a- team killings." why don't you start off by just laying out your findings. >> what we did was we interviewed dozens of witnesses, victims,mbers of the confidential investigations done by both the u.n. and red cross as well as the afghan government. we laid out what had happen in this isolated valley. even though these allegations emerged last winter and continued into the spring and were quite controversial, led a local demonstrations, no one really knew who this mysterious unit was. or speciale cia forces team. the military had categorically
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denied any responsibility up until this time. so we laid out a timeline of what happened and discovered who this unit was. we established conclusively these men who disappeared were picked up by american forces them often in these mass roundups in broad daylight. he was not a question if they were picked up, but what happened afterwards. in the end, we are able to identify the unit and even get into see this translator. the meccafore military launched its investigation, this had become a major issue in afghanistan with president karzai actually demanding the u.s. troops on that base be removed. could you talk about that and when did that happen? instances started in november, but they reached sort of a fever point in february when a body of a student was found with his throat slit. >> february of this year.
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but that's right. >> the family claimed -- it is not clear what happened. thead been bubbling in local politics and press for a while. master menstruation's corrupted in wardak. -- mass demonstrations erupted in wardak. that is when it reached a crisis point. your talks between karzai and , the u.s.an-led isaf and nato military mission in afghanistan. what ended up happening is a "of ofolitical point -- a kind became a political point. they're locked in these negotiations over the future of american forces in afghanistan. one of the main sticking points is the legal status of the u.s. forces. the u.s. is adamant they should have immunity. the afghans are relented --
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reluctant to grant that. in iraq, this led to the so- called zero options, sudden withdrawal of u.s. forces just a couple of years before. there is some speculation if they can't reach negotiation will provide legal age of u.s. forces, they will have to pull out. >> it wasn't until july the u.s. began a formal investigation of the charges? >> something that is troubling raised by the timeline, because if you look, the allegations are first reported to the u.s. army officer by the victims in november. right at the beginning of all of these killings. and yet even as the allegations mounted, even as investigations were done by the u.n., the red cross, the afghan government that all found the witnesses testimony credible that there were war crimes being committed by this unit, even as the bodies
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came out of the ground in april, may, the u.s. military stuck to its vow saying the three investigations have cleared them of all wrongdoing. spokesperson from the isaf, the international security assistance force in afghanistan, told democracy now! no one was available to join us for the show to respond to your new report, but he provided this statement -- your response? >> they did turn it over to the
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army criminal investigative command in july, and they say that is because they received new information from the red cross, touch this is according to the american military had given them new evidence that led them to open -- to request that investigation be opened. the red cross investigation had a much -- happened much earlier on, essentially completed by the time the bodies came out of the ground, from what i understand, speaking to officials familiar with the report. but the question really is, who else knew about these incidences how is a possible at least one level in the chain of command above this unit could not have known there were war crimes? there was serious evidence of war crimes in wardak province. if they weren't involved in the cover-up, then they must have been willfully blind. >> and the a-team is from? >> fort bragg. >> matthieu akins is the author
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of, "the a-team killings" which has just come out. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. , anduest is matthieu akins award-winning investigative journalist based in kabul, afghanistan and just published the piece, "the a-team killings ." how theere talking military has now begun its own investigation, but you have discovered so far they haven't interviewed any of the witnesses that youth talk to. -- that you talk to. have you been contacted by the military asking if you could give names of some of the folks you talk to? >> i hope they will because they haven't.
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it really was baffling to me how i could spend five months digging into the story and interviewed all the key witnesses and gathered all the key evidence myself and not have somehow run into this investigation which was taking place. it raises the question if this is been taking seriously. you have to see it in the context of the very poor track record the military has in reviewing allegations oabuse in custody and other instances like that in the past, and bringing the hope it's to justice. >> let's talk about some of the people who were killed and bodies were found. one of those who died after being detained by u.s. special forces was the university student named nasratullah. in february, his mother recalled how she was woken up at night by men she called americans who burst into her family's home. two days later she said villagers found nasratullah's courts, have eaten by village dogs. >> my son was taken and his body was dropped under a bridge in
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the river. one of his fingers was cut off. he was being very badly. his throat was slit. the government not listing to our voices? why are they not stopping the americans from doing such things? up toi wanted to stand talk with the americans, they have me back and hit me in my chest with the but of a gun. since ifeel pain here had been beaten. i cannot breathe. you can still see the marks of the beating on my chest. >> can you talk about this case? >> it is pitiful when you consider the conditions these people are living in. they are living in absolute insecurity, pressed on both sides by the insurgents and the u.s. military. the case of nasratullah is one of those that is less clear. we don't have the same evidence
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because it happened that night, because there weren't multiple witnesses. but in other cases, especially these daylight raids were they did roundup whole villages, we know the u.s. military took these people away. >> describe one of the scenes. you begin your piece with that, the two men who are sitting in their home. >> this is one of the most disturbing incidences i came across. i don't mention the name, i give the pseudonym omar. but omar and his neighbor, 28- year-old shopkeeper, or in front hitheir house when and ied a special forces team traveling nearby november 10 of last year. they soon saw americans coming down the road toward them, so they went inside. two translators, a bearded american, worst into the house and started -- burst into the house and started beating them or they found a command wire for the ied. as omar watched as one of the
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americans held him and beat him, the other translator, zikria kandahari, fired three shots from the killing him in front of the americans. omar then says he was beaten and taken away to the u.s. special forces base and held for several days, suspended with cables, interrogated by the americans and translators. he was the only civilian witness ofpoke to to the execution his neighborhood. at three different neighbors i spoke to from the same village told me they sell the american special forces team arrived, heard gunshots. afterwards they found his bullet riddled body lying among the apple trees. >> what about the translator who was arrested? you also delved into his own history as well and found some interesting things. >> this translator had been a mysterious figure for most of the story.
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of thein the custody afghan intelligence service, so he reportedly blamed the americans for the deaths and disappearances. but no one was able to speak indirectly until i learned in august 2 is transferred to the main afghan prison to await trial. i managed to get into see him. as you can imagine, it was quite a next-door mary meeting. andlked in and he came young looking, heavily bearded, speaking this kind of slain american that translators learned from hanging out with american soldiers. he did not admit to being involved in any of the killings, though we have multiple witnesses and a lot of evidence suggesting he was. but he blamed it all on the americans. he said what had happened was 1 -- the team sergeant, green beret a-team, had been wounded badly in a firefight at the
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beginning -- end of october, beginning of november. >> and his name was? >> jeff. is, leadership is really led by experience. he was the most experienced -- they call him the team daddy, the father of the team. his wounding must've been traumatic for these green berets. set is what happened to these instances off, i believe, that is what zikria kandahari said. he said all of the trouble started after jeff was wounded. >> because they didn't have his guidance? >> i think someone like that would have exercised a sortie and leadership and kept things under control. that is what a few of the different translators spoke to. tother translator i spoke come again, i did not use his name in the piece because he agreed to speak with me, he had been with this unit after zikria
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kandahari had fled. he had been deployed on an earlier mission in southern afghanistan. he said zikria kandahari whose nickname was jacob, had killed people will for, that he had killed prisoners before, that he had killed people in front of him. one had been detained by the a- team. he took this man outside, was supposed to release them but instead shot him in the face in front of the fire base. he said the a-team knew about this. she was scolded saying, don't do this kind of crazy things. yet he was still a part of the team. he was asked to come back. it really raises the question of how much has happened in the past. >> you also talk about the relationship between the afghan translators and u.s. forces, this sort of wink and nod
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sometimes of u.s. forces toward the special atrocities of the afghans. could you expand on that as well? >> the translator -- relationship of the translators, they are not supposed to be armed to the special forces get to do it they want so they are in their afghan interpreters, give them weapons. in the case of translators in the case of the relationship with afghan security forces in general, what we've seen in afghanistan is this pattern of a wink and a nod or u.s. forces tacitly complicit in the name of suppressing the insurgents and in gathering intelligence. i think this has to be seen in the context of the larger -- larger pattern. >> talk about where the stands. you say the interpreters are called terps. u.s. military from a try to
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distance themselves from the one man who has been arrested, zikria kandahari, who is in prison right now, yet you're tracing his relationship with these a-team soldiers on facebook. >> what is remarkable is how much research i was able to do just on facebook. afghan interpreters and special forces guys have kept in touch between deployments. they were writing comments to each other, posting photos. those photos have allowed me to identify a lot of the members of the team and actually construct a photo array like police investigators do where you mix random images of people with the people you're interested in, and to these this grid witnesses and victims and see if they can identify them. >> and you got some of these pictures from facebook. >> i got them all from facebook. one of the interesting things, the u.s. military has tried to disavow zikria kandahari and i think they claim astonishingly he was sort of a killer in turn.
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they say he escaped in december 14, that he ran away. i found on facebook they were actually chatting and joking with zikria kandahari even after the bodies started showing up in april. some of the green berets liked his comments, and kim, posted photos of themselves with him well after these incidents were allegations had come to light. >> how have the families reacted? explain the actual scene of digging when they discover these left, once the a-team had right outside the base. >> they had heard from a police officer who is freely with him that there might be bodies buried inside the base. the afghan army took over to date. they spent a bunch of time digging inside the special forces base after the american forces left and did not find
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anything. the officials accuse them of lying. about a week later, shepherd discovered human earnings thereby the base. over two months, these remained started showing up. families because the would find these bodies that have been burned or mutilated or partially destroyed, scavenged by animals. by the articles of clothing and personal items on the body, they would try to identify who was who. that is part of the problem with the story. there was no dna testing carried out, so we can't be certain of the identities of these 10 remains. things like watches, things that are not common in afghanistan and these farming valleys. the u.s. military would have the capacity to do the dna testing, even now, to find out the actual identities
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of the folks, you would think, or at least get a better idea of how they were killed or how they died. >> yes, but u.s. military hasn't been interested in doing any of that until now. if there are going to do a proper investigation, they should do proper forensic investigation on them and dna testing. >> what has happened with the interpreter? no trial yet? >> he is still in an afghan prison. he's been charged with crimes against the state and treason. >> the isaf and cia have a joint program called omega. what is it? >> it is a larger contact sort of thing. i discovered in the course of my research that joint military operations between the isaf and ca are governed by omega. when the teams go out with isaf units, whether it is air support or joint ground operations, this is what they're governed under. in 2011, the u.n. released this
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conference of report on torture in afghan prisons. seized transferring into afghan prison --ceased transferring into afghan prisons . the cia did not. according to interviews and documents, last year the omega program actually broke down over disagreements between isaf and cia because isaf was concerned during his joint operations, the cia would transfer these people facilitiessignated which include some of the worst locations dealing with torture. it really just shows how much these forces, the special forces operate under much less strict rules of oversight and accountability. that poses an interesting question for what happens after 2014. >> how difficult was it for you
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to ferret out over the five months the details of what happened here? an american reporter going into the afghan village to ask about what the americans have done, might not have encountered the most willing witnesses to talk to you. >> begin with your trip there. >> the incident take place only drive fromf hour's kabul, but it is like you're almost in a different world. when we tried to go to the district, we had to go with an afghan army convoy. we got ambushed and shot at and had to lay in a ditch for half an hour while the afghan army send it off this ambush. the area is really difficult to get to. it is right at the gates of kabul, practically. >> what about the response of the villagers? >> they were not really interested in talking at first.
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they had heard from a lot of reporters, incidences were months old by this time. they didn't have any faith in the capacity of some foreign reporter to bring them justice. perhaps i won't, but i guess i managed by hanging out with him and spending five months, to convince them once again to tell the stories and a much more deep way than they had done before. >> where is the a-team now? >> fort bragg. i'm assuming they're in some sort of koran team waiting on the results of this investigation -- currently waiting for the results of this investigation. >> this video has just been released. appears to be to identify the american military officers looking on -- unidentified american military officers look on. this is video that is extremely violent and disturbing.
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for those who are listening, it looks like western soldiers at the back of this. can you describe this? this has just gone on "rolling stone." >> i just want to say we don't know exactly who is in this video. it is not related to the particular team that was in wardak province. but it appears to be a group of translators and possibly afghan soldiers holding down a man and whipping him as they interrogate him. they asked if he has any weapons and he pleads with them saying he will tell them anything. two american soldiers are looking on. by their appearance and facial hair, they appear to be probably u.s. army special forces, green berets. they could be military intelligence or a few other
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things. the camouflage pattern on their pants didn't really show up in 2010, 2011.until the video is probably relatively recent. >> so where does this all go right now? i mean, so you have the a-team and you think they're quarantined at four bragg. the u.s. military says they are investigating. the u.s. government says they're pulling out of afghanistan. it is the special forces at this point that would say forces like this? >> i think what is really worrying is as the conventional american forces leave, this dirty war will just be handed off to special forces, cia, and it will have carte blanche to stick around for seems like that, to work with allies who were known abusers of human rights, to transfer detainees into prisons where we know people are being present, and just escape any form of
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oversight or congressional oversight, for example, because they fall under the rubric of covert or classified operations. >> and this whole issue of the status of forces agreement, clearly, this has been a sticking point not only in iraq, it has been an issue in south korea are many years. i want to go to october when john kerry met with afghan president hamid karzai to discuss an agreement necessary to keep the u.s. legal basis for keeping forces in afghanistan after 2014, and also to allow it to lease bases in the country. one of the sticking points is have immunitys under afghan law. respectwe completely that the president should side
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appropriately that it ought to be [indiscernible] that is the best of democracy. we embrace that. but there are realities that if it isn't resolved, we can't send our forces in places because we don't subject united states citizens to that kind of uncertainty with respect to their rights and lives. there is no comment on any other country. >> again, he is talking about the uncertainty that u.s. forces would face under potential afghan justice. >> i think there's no question as to why the u.s. is reluctant to have a justice system riddled with corruption, politically influenced. they don't want the soldiers to be subjected to that. the question is whether afghans are willing to tolerate the presence of the military that commits these kinds of acts, that has such weak oversight and accountability that these acts
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are a repeating pattern over 10 years. >> we want to thank you very much, matthieu akins, for joining us, and award-winning investigative journalist based in kabul, afghanistan. his piece, "the a-team killings" has just been published by "rolling stone" magazine. we will have a link on democracynow.org. when we come back, a new report about u.s. psychologist, psychiatrist, military medical personnel involved with torture at places like guantanamo. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we turn now to a new report
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that says medical professionals working under u.s. military orders have been complicit in the abuse of terrorism suspects. an independent panel found that u.s. military doctors have violated medical ethics by enabling the torture prisoners in the so-called war on terror. the task force on preserving medical professionalism concluded that medical staff who worked with the cia and pentagon "designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees" at guantanamo bay and a sticker prisons overseas. doctorsyear study sites for breaching patient confidentiality and advising interrogators on how to exploit prisoners fears and crush their will to resist. according to the report, the department of defense came up with euphemisms to excuse violations of ethical standards. for example, they refer to health professionals engaged in
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interrogation as "safety officers." the group found the cia's office of medical services played a critical role in reviewing and approving forms of torture, including waterboarding. the task force consists of 19 experts from the fields of military, health, law and human rights. they are calling for a full investigation of the medical profession's role in u.s. torture and an overhaul to ensure doctors involved in interrogations follow ethical standards. both the cia and the pentagon have rejected the reports findings. >> for more we go to washington, d.c., where we're joined by leonard rubenstein, the lead author of the report called, "ethics abandoned: medical professionalism and detainee abuse in the war on terror." he is senior scholar at the center for human rights and public health at johns hopkins bloomberg school of public health. and in jacksonville, florida, we're joined by dr. stephen xenakis, psychiatrist and retired rig their general was a member of the task force on preserving medical professionalism and national security detention centers that
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issued the report. he has advised the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on military mental health issues, and founder and president of the center for translational medicine, which assist in testing and treatment of soldiers and veterans of the iraq and afghanistan wars. welcome to democracy now! leonard rubenstein, lay out your major findings. >> the most important finding was these aspects of complicity in torture in detainee abuse were actually generated and directed by the pentagon and the cia. and those rules are still in effect. basically what happened was that the two agencies took professional standards, basically, the professional -- professionalism not to harm, and substituted its own standard which were in conflict with all professional obligations.
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as a result of that, doctors and psychologists who told that what they were doing was ethical and legitimate. and so that legacy remains. i think that is one of the quintupled issues in this report . as recently as 2012, the pentagon issued rules concerning the roles of health professionals in interrogation which continued to ask or require they exploit, identify and exploit, detainee vulnerabilities. just this year the pentagon issued even more draconian rules on force-feeding hunger strikers, even more intuitive than in the past. this legacy is still with us. i think the task force and professional organizations want restoration of ethical and professional values that have been the hallmark of military medicine. >> dr. stephen xenakis, you
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served during the vietnam war. could you talk about what you've seen in terms of the change of the relationship, how the military deals under the war on terrorism with using medical professionals? and did you find individuals in your report you actually objected to what they were being asked to do? >> well, the most important is since 2001, war that military physicians have been used as combatants. they have been used in ways other than health care providers and clinicians. and that is a real significant break. been part of military medicine. it is not in our tradition. in fact, during the vietnam era, it was expected and the soldiers really respected us and wanted us to know that we as their doctors who would be in the field, would stay in that very special position.
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and they could come to us with confidence that we would always be concerned about their health and welfare, and we could make autonomous decisions. so this is a really big break. it hasn't happened before, and it is a serious reach, as far as i'm concerned. >> you serve that guantanamo. tell us what you saw there, what that break was. >> i see the doctors really having to subordinate themselves to the command, and they don't have autonomy. they can't exercise their best judgment when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of the detainees there. they are limited. they're really concerned -- constrained and how they can go into the backgrounds and histories. they might uncover things that these people were subjected to abuse, with the peace you have done just right before here, and all of this is kept from them. they're not able to do what i
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think is their best clinical practice. >> could you give some examples of what were some of the unethical medical practices that clinicians were asked to do? , as mr. i mean rubenstein has said, it were early involved in the behavioral science teams, called the biscuits. these were teams that were going to advise the interrogators. they were specifically giving the interrogators information on the health condition of the ,ubjects, on vulnerabilities so they could be exploited. and they're going to be exploited to exercise stress and course with the idea that were going to get better information. that is totally outside the domain of what we do as doctors. we don't get information to use it in a way that is going to directly harm the patient or the
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subject here. today, of course, it is most vividly occurring with the hunger strikes. so these detainees who find themselves in a situation of indefinite detention, feeling much despair about their situation, disillusioned about what has happened, really want to be able to express nonviolently their feelings about it. and the command there is subjecting them forcibly to force-feeding. these are gastric tubes and nutrition that comes with that. the doctors are complicit with that. that violates our medical ethics. they don't want that. one of our principles is that we respect the autonomy of our patients. we work with them. we establish a good patient-dr. relationship. in essence, we do what we think is in their benefit and what they want. it is really, unfortunately, a
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continuing problem. --dean boyd said report the pentagon also responded. a spokesperson told reporters that none of the critics a prisoner care had actual access to the detainees, their medical records, or the procedures at the guantánamo detention camp. doctors and nurses are "consummate professionals working under terrifically stressful conditions, far from home and our families, and with patience it can extort nearly violent." he said the doctors and nurses -- leonard rubenstein, your
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response? >> there are certainly health professionals there who are doing their best under stressful situations. i think we have to look not at the doctors alone, we have to look at the policy. for example, the cia says ark allusions are -- says our conclusions are erroneous. but the office of medical services said that waterboarding is medically acceptable. it said in writing that sleep deprivation for over a week was medically acceptable. so we're basing it on their own documents. they have not told us one fact that we of gone wrong. with respect to the pentagon, we're basing our information as well on their policies. i cited two of them. what is also important to know is for about eight years, i have been requesting the pentagon
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access to detainees to look at their medical records, security agreements, confidentiality agreements. that has always been turned down. and that is why one of our most important conclusions is to call for a full investigation. we don't claim to know everything. that we have a lot of information from their own policies and no one is ever told us those policies are not in effect. denial withoutof any basis. i don't think we should be fooled that these kinds of lancaster and 70 basis. -- have any basis. is there any potential here for medical personnel who went along with these activities, especially abroad and other countries to be subject to
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complaints to their professional ethics boards here in the u.s.? >> there should be. in fact, about half a dozen complaint seven filed in different states. unfortunately, the state medical boards, which have jurisdiction over licensing and discipline of ,hysicians and psychologists have not acted on any of these complaints. i think they ducked them for a variety of reasons. it dismissed them on mostly jurisdictional or procedural grounds. they have not explained why they dismiss them. apart from everything else, we need a more robust and systemous disciplinary and reform at the state level. there are efforts in that respect in new york state, and we would like to see the medical community get behind it. there has been some leadership in the medical community. verythis week, 40
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prominent doctors, including a former surgeon general under the osha administration, wrote a letter to the administration saying, you have got to and force-feeding -- under the bush administration, wrote a letter to the administration saying, you have got to stop force- feeding. quick they wrote to the president question mark >> yes, after our report came out. >> dr. stephen xenakis, do you think dr. zach guantanamo and other such laces who engaged in torture a prisoners were somehow in their abuse should be brought up on charges? >> i don't want to take it out on the people on the front lines. his is the problem with the leadership. these are the policies and practices these people were involved ino, to be these interrogations and other activities. it started with the secretary of defense that we're going to take
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the glovesstatement that the gea conventions were not going to apply to these men. it should be focused on to the leadership. these are young professionals who were trying to do their best , and balance what they know is the essence of their medical ethics and their profession with an interest in protecting our country. avoid doing to that. but i do think we should hold the senior leadership accountable. they have set the whole stage here. i would really disagree with a statement from the department of defense that these people are still dangerous, that they have always been dangerous. we had 850 different detainees since 2002 down there. there are 164 now. there are a group that are going to be brought up on charges. there is a group that can't be brought up on charges because of history, that in fact a really are really-
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confirmed. most of these people are just from these villages. they were caught up in this thing. some of them were sold for bounties. they just want to go home. this is not a criminal population. i think it is a real mischaracterization of them, and really unfair. >> thank you both for being with us, dr. stephen xenakis, psychiatrist and retired for the dear general was a member of the task force on preserving ethical professionalism and national security detention centers, and leonard rubenstein, the lead author on the report, "ethics abandoned: medical professionalism and detainee abuse in the war on terror." we will link to the report at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. democracy now [captioning made possible by
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democracy now!]
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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with dennis haysbert. the documentary looks at the war .hrough documents and artifacts then we will turn to a conversation with scott adams "how to failalled at almost everything and still win big."
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dennis haysbert and scott adams coming up right now. ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: the next two years to commemorate the end of the civil
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war, the smoke finian -- the smithsonian is dedicating a including aat time, program called fight for freedom and hosted by actor dennis haysbert. take a look at the clip from the series. >> every ship had a list of all the goods and he was on the ship. this one is taking 83 people from virginia to natchez to be sold in the cotton and sugar plantation. documenting the people. it has people's names, their
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coloring, their age, where they are from. sometimes people were sold multiple times. i'm going to make an assumption. i doubt you have done any project where you learned more. i could be wrong. further.d go a step artifact iow what was going to be discussing until the cameras were rolling. >> they cap you in suspense? can understand how that would have an emotional impact on what i was doing. it's really interesting
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shooting. this is going to be a fascinating show. i was watching ashley judd last night. i was happy go lucky. a lot of this was kind of dour for me. it hurt, and i was kind of liberated in my thinking of all the people that came together to try to stop this and try to end , so i have a whole new outlook on the people who tried to exacerbate the situation. dark period ina the nations history.